Oppn demands early assembly elections in J&K

Initiating the debate on a statutory resolution to extend President's rule, Congress member Viplove Thakur questioned why assembly elections were not held in the state along with the Lok Sabha polls. (PTI File Photo)

The Congress on Monday accused the BJP-led central government of "betraying" the people of Jammu and Kashmir by imposing President's rule in the state and demanded early Assembly elections there.

Initiating the debate on a statutory resolution to extend President's rule, Congress member Viplove Thakur questioned why assembly elections were not held in the state along with the Lok Sabha polls.

She also charged that the Centre was only citing Amarnath Yatra and other religious activities as an excuse for not conducting election.

"Why can't you clearly say that 'our motive has not been fulfilled'," she said.

"People of J-K want to join mainstream," Thakur said, and asked the Centre to hold early elections in the state.

The Congress member alleged that the Centre was misleading the people of J-K as well as the House by saying that no party was in a position to form government in the state.

"Keep the democracy alive. Do not divide Jammu and Kashmir. Preserve unity of this country," she urged.

Rakesh Sinha (nominated) said the issue is of national importance and should not be seen through a political prism.

Countering Thakur, he said if the Congress had valued democracy, situation in J-K would have been different.

Sinha refuted the charge of creating division between Jammu and Kashmir, and said the BJP-led central government believes in 'one people, one nation'.

He accused the Congress of doing politics of polarisation in the state.

Sinha also charged that Jammu was not given due representation in the state and cited the less number of assembly and parliamentary seats from the region despite having larger population and area than Kashmir.

He also spoke about "injustice" to people belonging to Valmiki community in government jobs.

The bills to extend President's Rule in Jammu and Kashmir and to provide reservation for people living along international border were taken up jointly for debate by the Upper House.

The statutory resolution on extending President's rule by another six months with effect from July 3, 2019 and Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill, 2019 were approved by Lok Sabha on Friday.

Ram Gopal Yadav (SP) said that the President's rule was imposed in a hurry and efforts should have been made to form an alternative government.

Yadav said the BJP made a mistake in supporting the PDP in forming the government in the state.

He said the BJP-PDP coalition was "unnatural and bound to fail" and, in lighter vein, equated it with his party's recent alliance with the BSP in the general elections.

AIADMK member S R Balasubramaniam said there should be central rule till election is held in the state. However, he questioned why assembly polls were not held with the general elections.

CPI D Raja criticised the government for taking the Ordinance route on reservation issue and favoured referring bills to Standing Committee or Select Committee.

Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Derek O'Brien also questioned why assembly elections were not held along with Lok Sabha polls when the Prime Minister himself favours 'one nation, one election'.

He also charged the central government with resorting to ordinance route frequently and said it should come down.

Talking about federalism, the TMC leader accused the central government of not co-operating with the West Bengal government.

Through NRC, he alleged, the central government was "targeting Indian citizens... some of our Bangla speaking Hindus".

His frequent reference to West Bengal led the Chair to remind him that the debate was on issues related to Jammu and Kashmir.

CPM leaders K K Ragesh alleged that the government wanted to divide people on communal lines for its petty politics and opposed both the bills.

"Alienation will not help to deal with the problem of terrorism in the state. If you can conducts the Lok Sabha elections in state then why cannot the state elections be held simultaneously," he said.

He claimed that instances of terror attacks, ceasefire violations, civilians and security personnels causalities and youth joining terrorisms in the state had increased during the BJP-led NDA rule from 2014 to 2019. Supporting both the bills, Prasanna Acharya (BJP) said, "We cannot go on discriminating... But my only concern is that whether the bill (on reservation) approved by Parliament would be ratified later by elected state government."

Supporting the bill, Ram Chandra Prasad Singh (JDU), Manoj Jha (RJD), Swapan Dasgupta (nominated) and Nazir Ahmed Laway (J&K PDP) also participated in the discussion.

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